While the situation in Israel escalates, as it does in so many areas of the world, we are reminded of how fragile life is and how difficult it is to be a human being. Sometimes we surprise ourselves with courage when we feel incomprehensible fear, and at other times we are shocked and dismayed by our capacity to inflict misery.
The duality of our species is not new, and today, like our ancestors before us, we see how often the worst situations can bring out the best in us. There are so many silent heroes in our midst who are flickering candles lighting the way in the darkest night, behaving with strength, grace, mercy and dignity, rising above it all.
Often economics is cited as the reason for the conflict. Many times politics gets in the way but inevitably religion becomes our excuse. “All in the Name of God.” Oh, the things we have done in the Name of God. Do we really believe that this is what He wants from us?
The Kabbalists have said for centuries that the only job for humanity to do is to put ourselves back together—to the whole that we once were. We don’t see that we are using our own hand to cut off our leg. We are all made different from each other so that we will toil to see beyond the fragmentation and recognize the spark of God in everyone. It is not easy work, but it is our own and in it lays our power.
We are not separate from what is happening in Israel, Nigeria or Ukraine, or from the hurt that our neighbor feels right across the street. We can make a difference by not giving in to indifference or worse to intolerance or retaliation.
The Bible reading of this week is the story of Pinchas. The Zohar tells us that, beyond the simple story, what is available for us every year during the week of Pinchas is the energy of healing. So at this time, when you pray or meditate or do what you do to connect to your higher power, please send healing energy to the world, which it needs so desperately. And when not in prayer, be aware and awake to every opportunity to actively engage in choices and actions that will make the angels envious of the greatness of our human spirit.